Bogan: Wikis


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A page from the New Zealand parody magazine "Bogue", showing actors dressed in a stereotypical Bogan style.

The term bogan (pronounced /ˈboʊɡən/, rhyming with slogan) is Australian and New Zealand English slang, usually pejorative or self-deprecating, for a person who is, or is supposed to be, of a lower-class background and whose characteristics exemplify, often crudely, this background. The speech and mannerisms of a bogan, according to the stereotype, are such as to indicate poor education, a preference for cheap clothing, and uncultured upbringing. 'Bogans' tend to reside in outer metropolitan areas or large country towns.[1]

Similar concepts exist under other names in other countries, such as chav, scally or pikey (England), ned (Scotland), scanger and spide (Ireland), tokkie (Holland), Proll (Germany) and white trash, redneck, hick, hillbilly (North America), or baianão (Brazil).

The term has recently been applied to real estate, aka "boganvilla", to describe large houses on small blocks of land in outer suburban areas, similar to the term "McMansion" in the United States. This term plays on the plant name "bougainvillia", considered a weed in northern parts of Australia because of its prolific growth habit.



The origin of the term 'bogan' as a pejorative is unclear; both the Macquarie Dictionary and the Australian Oxford Dictionary cite the origin as unknown. Comparison might be made with the Scots Gaelic bòcan or the Manx buggane, mythological creatures with elements of mischief, nuisance or malice.

The Australian National Dictionary Centre (ANDC) included the word in its Australian dictionary project[2] in 1991, attributing the earliest known reference to a 1985 surfing magazine. The 1902 poem "City of Dreadful Thirst" by Australian poet Banjo Paterson makes reference to a "Bogan shower" as a term meaning "three raindrops and some dust". However this is clearly a reference to the dry region around the Bogan River in Central Western NSW.[3] There are places in western New South Wales that contain 'bogan' in their name — for example, Bogan Shire, the Bogan River and the rural village of Bogan Gate — but they are not regarded as the source of the term.[2]

The term's popular usage emerged in Melbourne's suburbs in the late 1970s and early 1980s as a non-pejorative term, used by fans of Heavy Metal and Hard Rock music to describe themselves, and was used almost interchangeably with "head-banger". Bogans typically wore "acid wash" jeans, moccasins, and band T-shirts; had "mullet" style haircuts; and lived in the suburbs. The usage of the term has since changed to indicate someone generally suburban and poorly educated, and has little relation to the original usage which was specific to Heavy Metal and Hard Rock fans. Also, the usage has changed to include females. Female bogans were known as "mocca chicks" for the moccasins which were customarily worn as footwear.

The term became widely known in the late 1980s, when the character Kylie Mole (played by Mary-Anne Fahey), from the popular Australian sketch comedy television program The Comedy Company, popularised the term, using it frequently to disparage those she disliked: "[a bogan is] a person that you just don’t bother with. Someone who wears their socks the wrong way or has the same number of holes in both legs of their stockings. A complete loser." Kylie's use of 'bogan' is closer to the common use of "dag" ("dork" or "nerd") than "westie," which apparently predated 'bogan' by some years.[4]

The term has been used in reference to people living in the Logan region in Queensland. This is mainly because Logan happens to rhyme with bogan. Irrespective of the precise origins of the term, people of this region have been perceived as being typical of the stereotype.[5]

Bogan was deemed one of twenty Australian colloquialisms by a selection panel and in an online poll to be most relevant to Australian users.[6]

Elements of the stereotype

Certain types of clothing are stereotypically associated with bogans, including flannelette shirts, singlets, Stubbies shorts, track pants (tracky dacks),[7] ugg boots,[8] thongs, jeans, black leggings [9] and trucker caps.[10]

Non-pejorative usage

The term 'bogan' has been employed favourably to indicate being proudly un-fashionable or 'rough around the edges.' Radio station Triple J held a "National Bogan Day" on June 28, 2002, which they commemorated by playing music by bands such as Cold Chisel, Midnight Oil, Rose Tattoo and AC/DC.[11]

Residents of streets such as Bogan Place and Bogan Road have been moved to action by the negative connotations of their street names and lobbied to rename them.[12]

New Zealand study

In New Zealand, Waikato University postgraduate student and self professed bogan Dave Snell was awarded nearly $100,000 in 2007 to study the bogan lifestyle. Snell's stance is that enjoyment of heavy metal music is a key element of the bogan lifestyle. Snell explains that bogans express their identity through visible tattoos and clothing choices.[13]

References in Popular Culture

  • Australian band Area-7 released a single called "Nobody Likes a Bogan" in 2002, which listed several aspects of a stereotype bogan named "Bazza." The song reached #46 on the ARIA Charts in February of that year.[14]
  • Australian comedian Chris Franklin's public persona is a self-proclaimed "King of the Bogans," in which he frequently eats meat pies, wears a flannelette shirt with its sleeves ripped off, and occasionally wears a football beanie over his permed mullet. In 1999, Franklin released a comedy single called "Bloke" (a parody of "Bitch" (1997) by Meredith Brooks), which expressed a bogan perspective on male/female relationships.
  • In 2005 residents of the Victorian town of Colac objected to the backstory of the fictional Timmins family (described by ABC Local Radio as a "bogan family") on the soap opera Neighbours, which portrayed them as being from the town. Scriptwriter Ben Michaels denied regional stereotyping, stating "I think most people know there is a bogan contingent in every town, and we happened to take the piss out of the bogan contingent of Colac."[15]
  • Bogan Pride was a 2008 comedy television series on SBS TV, starring Rebel Wilson about suburban characters proud to be bogans.
  • In the lead-up to the 2008 AFL Finals series, Hawthorn president and former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett proclaimed that he was "as excited as any football-loving bogong". His mispronunciation of the term attracted media attention, with suggestions that it highlighted that he was out of touch - the opposite of his intention.[16]
  • In November 2008, newly elected Lord Mayor of Melbourne, Robert Doyle vowed to rid the Melbourne city centre of "bogans".[17]
  • In May 2009, Clare Werbeloff became an internet sensation after her alleged eyewitness account of violence in Sydney's Kings Cross on the Nine Network news.[18] A few days later she confessed that she had not witnessed the Kings Cross incident and that she had been playing a prank. The media dubbed her the "Kings Cross Bogan"[19] and in an interview with A Current Affair she was described as "Australia's biggest bogan".[20]
  • In 2004 director Grant Lahood made a short film entitled Bogans, featuring a cameo appearance by Peter Jackson. A light hearted road movie following three bogans on a mission to get parts in the movie Lord of the Rings.
  • The popular Australian TV show Kath & Kim can be seen as a parody of the 'cashed-up bogan' lifestyle.[21][22][23]
  • A website named Things bogans like, modelled on Stuff White People Like, is the result of a debate over whether the bogan of the 21st century has changed since the 1980s, and is broadly condescending towards mainstream Australian culture.[24][25]

Use in Marketing

The term "Cashed Up Bogan," or "Cub," was used by one marketing researcher in 2006 to describe people of a blue-collar background now earning a high salary and spending their earnings on expensive consumer items as a matter of conspicuous consumption and a familiar term used in the city of Kalgoorlie-Boulder. The media adduced tennis player Lleyton Hewitt and his actress wife, Bec Cartwright, as examples.[26] The Kaesler Winery in the Barossa Valley wine district make and produce a Shiraz wine called the 'Bogan.'

Considering "cashed-up bogan" to be a "stupid term",[27] Mel Campbell argued in an article in the Sydney Morning Herald that bogan (including cashed-up bogan) is a nebulous, personal concept that is frequently used in a process by which "we use the idea of the bogan to quarantine ideas of Australianness that alarm or discomfort us. It's a way of erecting imaginary cultural barriers between "us" and "them"." Campbell argues that though many people believe they know exactly what a bogan is and what their characteristics might be, there is no defined set of characteristics of a bogan: the speaker imagines the denoted person to be different from, and less cultured than, themselves.

Regional equivalent terms

Although the term bogan is understood across Australia and New Zealand, certain regions have their own slang terms for the same group of people. These terms include:

The term westie (or westy) is not synonymous with bogan; however, westies are often stereotyped as being bogans. This term seems to predate bogan by some years,[4] originating in Sydney, New South Wales in the 1970s to refer to people from that city's western suburbs. The term is now in wide use in many cities and towns across both Australia and New Zealand, where it especially refers to the denizens of West Auckland.

See also


  1. ^ Lauder, Simon (2008-04-12). "Bogan Pl residents lobby for name change". ABC. Retrieved 2008-04-12. 
  2. ^ a b Australian National University: Australian National Dictionary Centre
  3. ^ Patferson, A.B.: - In this context it could also mean a lot of show but very little substance which also applies to its present usage. "City of Dreadful Thirst".
  4. ^ a b c d e Moore, Bruce: Of Boondies, Belgium Sausages and Boguns, Ozwords (Australian National University), November 1998.
  5. ^ Davies, Hannah (2009-01-05). "Logan in a tizz over famous bogan Catherine McNeil | The Courier-Mail".,20797,24876367-3102,00.html?from=public_rss. Retrieved 2009-12-28. 
  6. ^ Press release: Strewth! Microsoft Office 2007 will recognise more dinky-di words, Microsoft Corporation, 15 May 2006.
  7. ^ "Definition". Retrieved 2009-12-28. 
  8. ^ The uggly side of life - The Age:
  9. ^ Anatomy of the trend - leggings - The Age:
  10. ^ UTS Experts Making News July:
  11. ^ Griffin, Michelle: Bogansville: meet the new in-crowd, The Age, 16 July 2002.
  12. ^ April 14, 2008 12:00AM (2008-04-14). "Not the place for bogans | The Daily Telegraph".,22049,23533259-5013110,00.html. Retrieved 2009-12-28. 
  13. ^ The Dominion Post (2007-10-30). "Bogan fights outrageous myths". Retrieved 2009-12-28. 
  14. ^ Rage: ARIA Top 50 playlist, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 26 February 2002.
  15. ^ Martin, Steve: Not happy with Neighbours: Colac residents say enough is enough, 15 June 2005.
  16. ^ "A premiership with kick gives Kennett wings". 2008-10-02. Retrieved 2009-12-28. 
  17. ^ December 04, 2008 12:00AM (2008-12-04). "City mayor Robert Doyle scolded by proud bogans".,21985,24747947-2862,00.html. Retrieved 2009-12-28. 
  18. ^ ", Man shot twice in Kings Cross attack". Retrieved 2009-12-28. 
  19. ^ "Clare Werbeloff". Retrieved 2009-12-28. 
  20. ^, May 26, 2009, I'm no racist, says Clare the bogan
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ Hills, Brendon (2009-11-09). "Things Bogans Like website celebrates Australia's new age bogan =". Retrieved 2009-11-01. 
  26. ^ "Snobbery alert: the 'Cub' is busy turning Melbourne into Boganville". The Age. 20 May 2006. 
  27. ^ Campbell, Mel (2006-06-08). "Perhaps there's a little bogan in everyone". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2008-09-05. 

External links


Up to date as of January 15, 2010
(Redirected to bogan article)

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary




  • ‘bogan’ is used occasionally in Australian literature before 1900 as a word to describe something of poor or little quality (most notably in “The City of Dreadful Thirst” by the Australian poet Banjo Patterson).
  • Possibly named after the Bogan River area in Australia.




bogan (plural bogans)

  1. (Australian) A person who is, or is perceived to be, unsophisticated or of a lower class background, more or less analogous to the British term chav or US American term redneck.
  2. (New Zealand) An anglo-celtic member of a lower socioeconomic group historically classified by the wearing of black jumpers, or black concert T-shirts. Bogans often drive larger cars and are often referred to as petrolheads.
  3. (North Western Ontario) A slang word for a Native person typically perceived as having gangster ties.


  • (uncool person): dag (Australia), chav (British)
  • (in New Zealand sense): bevan (Queensland, Australia), westy or westie (Australia, especially Sydney), booner (Canberra)

See also


bogan (used only attributively; not comparative or superlative)

  1. Characteristic of a bogan.
    He had a bogan mullet.


to bogan

Third person singular

Simple past

Past participle

Present participle

to bogan (third-person singular simple present bogans, present participle boganning, simple past and past participle boganned)

  1. (rare) To act like a bogan.
    "If you're coming in to cause trouble, don't bother ... bogan it up at home." - Lord Mayor Robert Doyle [1]


  • Anagrams of abgno
  • Gabon

Old English


  • IPA: /ˈboɣɑn/



  1. Plural form of boga.

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